A study in creative counting
There comes a time each term when the last school break is but a distant memory. For me, this is the worst day of each term. Usually it will be in the second week, when talking in the staffroom about what you did over your holidays is no longer acceptable. Anecdotes of sun-baking on the beaches of Thailand, or sipping hot chocolate under the Christmas tree, will garner furrowed brows from colleagues sick of the British weather and waking up at 6am.
If, like me, you clutch desperately at the echoes of the holidays, you may attempt to stretch out the ‘well- vacationed’ feeling a few days longer with some shiny trinkets or scrap of memorabilia from the holiday, carefully positioned on your desk. These good feelings, unfortunately, do not last forever, and before you know it the demands of the job will be firmly in your mind and the holiday memories nothing but dust on the wind.
At this point the temptation is to calculate how many days are left until the end of term. Sadly, this route leads to despair. You quickly realise that the end is nowhere in sight.
Two years ago, I learned the solution to this problem. Faced with another five weeks of term, a colleague introduced me to her answer to the mid-term blues – creative counting. This quality bit of nonsense changed my perspective on the countdown to the holidays. As she explained, you can never count the day you are in as a real day – clearly it has to be ticked off because you have already made the hardest step, by coming into work. This applies from the moment you walk through the school gates.
You also never count a week where you have done the majority of days. This means on a Wednesday morning, you have technically finished the week. The last week of term is normally reserved for finishing off/assessments or other ‘low impact’ activities, which means it should not be considered as a true week either, at least for countdown purposes. The savings add up quickly and before you know it a gloomy ‘three weeks to go’, becomes a fantastic ‘only one real week left’!
Although I’m well aware I’m deluding myself, it always brings a smile to my face to think of each term in this way. It somehow always manages to make the journey seem shorter. Most importantly, it allows me to stop obsessing over the minutes left until I can sleep in again, and get on with teaching.
So do not despair. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Creative counting is the answer to all your woes. As a final note, don’t forget the holidays are only a week away (by my count).
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